When the little beef enters Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal about their respective responsibilities in the fact that the duo never was at the end of its potential, O'Neal had released the following punchline:
"You would have had 12 rings if you had not passed the ball, especially in the Finals against the Pistons. "
A sentence that reminded the sports writer Jeff Pearlman an anecdote present in his next book:
"I interviewed a Kobe teammate for my upcoming book. We talked about the 2004 defeat in the Finals against the Pistons. She had been much attributed to the injury of Karl Malone. The guy told me, 'That defeat was Kobe's fault. He wanted to be MVP of this series and he just … continued … to shoot. "
Interviewed to Kobe teammate for my upcoming book. We spoke about 2004 Finals loss to Pistons. Much blame was placed on Karl Malone injury. Guy told me, "That lost was on Kobe, He wanted to be MVP of that series, and he just … kept … shooting."
– Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) August 28, 2019